Science Instruments Group Leader

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, August 1, 2019
Archive Date: 
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Engineering
Institution Classification/Type: 
TMT International Observatory, LLC
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Job Summary

The TMT International Observatory, LLC is a non-profit corporation managing the development and construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, an extremely large optical-infrared telescope to be built by an international partnership consisting of the California Institute of Technology, Canada, China, India, Japan, and the University of California. For more information, please see The TMT Instrumentation Department is responsible for overseeing the design, fabrication and test of the three first light science instruments for TMT and the associated adaptive optics (AO) systems, as well as formulating future science instruments with inputs from the science community.

Reporting to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project Manager and Instrumentation (INS) Department Head, and working closely with the Adaptive Optics (AO) Group Leader, the Science Instruments (INST) Group Leader will serve as a strong connection to the science community at large, be an advocate on TMT for the community’s current and future interests in science instrumentation and technology. The Group Leader will lead the science instrument activities for the design and implementation of the Thirty Meter Telescope and support the Project Manager’s execution of the TMT project. The incumbent will supervise an instrument design group that consists of scientists and engineers responsible for design studies and implementation of TMT science instruments. Design studies and implementation will be carried out by members of the TMT Project and community-based instrument teams working under contract with TMT.

Job Duties

The Science Instruments (INST) Group Leader will lead a group that is working with partner/community teams to:

  • Working with the TMT Observatory Scientist, serve as a conduit to the science community at large; understand and advocate for the community’s current and future interests in TMT science instrumentation and technology.
  • Support external funding proposals for on-going efforts and new technology development and instrumentation feasibility studies by partner institutions and ensure they are (and remain) consistent with TMT goals.
  • Assist the TMT Science Advisory Committee (SAC) in examining scope options and establishing priorities on a continuing basis.
  • Investigate concepts that respond to the scientific requirements and are feasible on TMT, as well as to provide estimates of the scientific performance expected from the overall system.
  • Develop initial specifications and ROM costs for future instruments.
  • Issue announcements of opportunity and oversee RFP process.
  • Select/foster instrument teams across the partnerships for design studies for a new instrument or a major upgrade or the development of a new instrument.
  • Provide oversight for and manage design studies for each instrument.
  • Working with the Systems Engineering team, conduct design reviews and negotiate results with teams.
  • Working with the TMT Project business team, establish contractual requirements and costs for instruments, negotiate ``value”, conditions and schedule.
  • Working with the TMT Project Office, negotiate and manage work packages for all instrumentation efforts.
  • Monitor progress through monthly reports, telecons/videocons and interim visits.
  • Participate in the development milestones of the TMT instruments from design, manufacturing to integration at the builder site, and assembly, integration and verification at Observatory site.
  • Prepare for and participate in progress reviews of the Project by funding agencies.

Minimum Requirements

  • A doctoral degree in astronomy or related physical science discipline or related engineering. Current or recent active research in astronomy is strongly preferred. Experience in large projects is strongly preferred.
  • 10 years experience in the scientific and technical aspects of scientific instruments for complex scientific detector, telescope or aerospace systems with significant experience in mechanical, optical and controls technology.
  • Significant experience leading a team in these activities is required.
  • Experience in working with international teams.
  • Experience in managing contracts and/or work packages.
  • The project office is located in Pasadena, and residence in the area is expected but can be negotiated.
  • Regular international travel to visit instrumentation teams within the US, Canada, China, Europe, India and Japan will be necessary.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

  • Proven capability in conducting research in astronomy or astrophysics with a track record of publications;
  • Demonstrated record of leadership in complex scientific or technical projects involving instrumentation technologies relevant for TMT.
  • A significant record in leading instrument projects and systems activities to completion and a record of publication in professional journals is required.
  • Significant demonstrated accomplishments in one or more of mechanical, optical, controls, electronics, modelling and systems studies is required.
  • Ability to efficiently organize work and work independently.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to write clear and concise technical documents.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work as part of a team on a large, distributed project.
  • Ability to multi-task a substantial number of parallel activities.
Included Benefits: 

TMT offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package, including impressive retirement plans. If you are interested in applying for employment with TMT, please apply online. 

TMT is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Application Deadline: 
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Position Filled
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Fengchuan Liu
Deputy Project Manager
Inquiries About Job